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Sharp Health News

Palliative care designed with the patient in mind

May 23, 2016

Palliative care designed with the patient in mind

Sharp Chula Vista’s Palliative Care team pictured left to right: Caroline Boaz, CNS, ACHPN; Krystal Machuca, MSW; Caroline Etland, PhD, RN; Rev. Bogar Hernandez, MDiv; and Chaplain Lois Hare, MDiv, BCC.

In summer 2015, Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center expanded its patient-centered care services by launching a new palliative care program to enhance its offerings as a Planetree-designated hospital.

Different from hospice care, palliative care can be provided with both curative treatment and during end-of-life treatment. Using a team approach, more than 300 patients have been helped since the program’s inception.

"Palliative care can be received at any stage of a serious illness, whether that illness is potentially curable, chronic or life-threatening," explains Caroline Boaz, CNS, ACHPN. "Hospice care is always palliative, but not all palliative care is hospice care."

Designed with the patient in mind, palliative care consults are available for complex cases that focus on providing patients with relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness along with making decisions on goals of care. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and family. The program also educates staff and doctors on a variety of topics, including pain and symptom management; communication with patients and families at transitional times; and current trends like the End-of-Life Option Act, which took effect in June 2016.

"Palliative care is a team approach to patient care, and is appropriate at any age and stage in a serious illness," Boaz continues. "It helps patients and their families not only manage the pain, symptoms and stress of a serious illness, but also navigate the medical system."

The program not only supports Sharp Chula Vista’s Planetree designation, but also assists in the hospital’s journey to achieving Magnet Recognition® from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

"Magnet standards reference meeting community needs and improving nurse satisfaction by providing certain necessary resources," says Caroline Etland, PhD, RN, director of education, research and professional practice at Sharp Chula Vista. "Our palliative care consult service does just that by assisting with the care of seriously ill patients, incorporating the family during each stage of care, and supporting staff wellness."

Learn more about palliative and hospice care programs available at Sharp-affiliated hospitals.

This story was updated in June 2017.

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